Sacred Writings

Buddhist Manuscript Cultures: Knowledge, Ritual, and Art by Stephen C. Berkwitz, Juliane Schober, Claudia Brown

By Stephen C. Berkwitz, Juliane Schober, Claudia Brown

Buddhist Manuscript Cultures explores how spiritual and cultural practices in premodern Asia have been formed by way of literary and inventive traditions in addition to by means of Buddhist fabric tradition. This learn of Buddhist texts makes a speciality of the importance in their fabric varieties instead of their doctrinal contents, and examines how and why they have been made.

Collectively, the publication bargains cross-cultural and comparative insights into the transmission of Buddhist wisdom and using texts and photographs as ritual gadgets within the inventive and aesthetic traditions of Buddhist cultures. Drawing on case reviews from India, Gandhara, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Mongolia, China and Nepal, the chapters incorporated examine the variety of pursuits and values linked to generating and utilizing written texts, and the jobs manuscripts and photographs play within the transmission of Buddhist texts and in fostering devotion between Buddhist groups.

Contributions are by way of reputed students in Buddhist reports and signify varied disciplinary techniques from non secular stories, artwork heritage, anthropology, and heritage. This publication can be of curiosity to students and scholars operating in those fields.

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A). e saghe cadurdi´sami acaryana sarvastivatana parigrahami pu[r]nagara˜nami, “This water-pot [is a gift] to the universal community, in the possession of the Sarv¯astiv¯adin teachers in the Purnaka monastery” (Salomon 1999: 2000). 7 The use of the pot as a container in which to bury the manuscripts is thus clearly secondary. The pot was originally presented to the monastery simply as a practical utensil and was later recycled as a receptacle for the ritual burial of a group of manuscripts. As to the specific location of the burial of the pot containing the manuscripts, we have, of course, no reliable testimony, but we can make some reasonable guesses by comparisons with better-documented discoveries of related materials.

Taken together, the aforementioned articles give some sense of the wide range of scholarship currently being done on specific Buddhist manuscripts. Why “Buddhist Manuscript Cultures” As a collection, the contributions to Buddhist Manuscript Cultures expand upon scholarly research on Buddhist manuscripts by shifting the focus from particular texts to the cultural contexts in which manuscripts were created and used. It is our conviction that Buddhist manuscripts not only contain significant textual material, but they also point to religious notions concerning textuality and reveal aspects of broader social, cultural, and ritual realities.

5 Thus, her essay returns the discussions contained in this collection, full circle, to the point of their departure. Notes 1 A useful summary of the formations of and variations in Indian Buddhist canons appears ´ in Étienne Lamotte, History of Indian Buddhism: From the Origins to the Saka Era, trans. Sara Webb-Boin (Louvain: Catholic University of Louvain, 1988), 149–192. cch¯a) (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2003). Whereas earlier generations of scholars commonly associated the rise of a Mah¯ay¯ana “school” with the appearance of certain philosophical works in Sanskrit, an increasing number of contemporary scholars seem to favor separating these two historical events, raising doubts over whether any coherent Mah¯ay¯ana movement could have existed as early as some of the texts that would later become associated with this community.

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